Time is a funny thing... It can drag, or race by. It can double back upon itself and make infinity. It can tick by in never ending revolutions on my wrist… on the watch my Papa gave me when I was ten years old.
Every time the clockwork conks out I replaced it because I love that watch so much… or maybe because I love my Papa so much. When I took the watch out of my jewelry box at this time last year- to have it resuscitatedyet again- it was with a heavy heart. My Papa was gone, and I wanted to wear the watch to his memorial. What I didn’t know, as I slipped the gently ticking watch around my wrist and boarded a plane to Florida, was that it was about to take me back in time.
When I was a little girl, the family vacations we took were always to visit my grandparents in Orlando. It was, and is, the theme park Mecca of the world and a magical place to be as a child. My Papa was always an early riser, and so was I. And whenever I came to visit, I would wake up at the crack of dawn and bustle down to the kitchen to find my Papa already reading the morning paper with a cup of coffee and a doughnut, or danish, or coffee cake, or piece of pie waiting for me… heaven.
And he would say “Morning Molly Bird.” And I would sit next to him and eat while he read- just the two of us.
We would always make a foray to the Magic Kingdom when I visited.
We’d see the other parks too: EPCOT, The Disney Studios and Sea World... But for me, the Magic Kingdom- particularly Main Street at night- held a special appeal. The lights would glow in the shop fronts as we sat awaiting the Main Street Electrical Parade. And it was there in the Main Street Emporium, on my 10th birthday, that Papa bought me the watch. Sitting in the back seat of the car when Papa drove us home that night, I remember glancing at my new watch glinting in the light from the street lamps. It was all I could do to try to keep my eyes open… I fell sound asleep long before we ever got home.
And somehow, twenty-five years later, it seemed to me that if I could revive the watch again, it would be like I was keeping a part of my Papa alive with me.
After his memorial, we decided our family could do with a bit of magic. So, the next day we visited the Magic Kingdom. From the moment we set foot there, everything went as smoothly as could be- just like clockwork. Every line opened up for us, every crowd dispersed. And at the end of the day as the lamps lit Main Street and the fireworks burst overhead, I looked into my boys’ illuminated faces- and it was like looking into my own face as a child- full of absolute wonder.
Driving home, I glanced in the rearview mirror, and saw both boys sound asleep in the back seat. Then I looked down at the watch on my wrist, resting on the steering wheel, and everything seemed to come full circle, like the hands on my watch… like magic.